STANDARDS: Communication 1.2 Cultures 2.1, Connections 3.2


Language: Any language. Examples in Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Chinese, and Korean

Proficiency Level: Advanced

Brief description of the activity: Students will read a passage from a classic text and improve their ability to monitor their work in progress.


  1. Students will become acquainted with an influential literary work in the target language
  2. Students will develop skills necessary to read and appreciate complex materials in the target language.
  3. Students will be able to make inferences about the target culture through exploration of an original literary work.
  4. Students will be able to monitor their progress during a language learning task.

Language focus: Reading

Spanish: El Cid or another literary piece in Spanish; Spanish dictionary
French: Camus' L'Etranger or another literary piece in French; French dictionary
German: Goethe's Der Erlkonig or another literary piece in German; German dictionary
Italian: Ariosto's Orlando Furioso or another literary piece in Italian; Italian dictionary
Russian: Anton Chekhov's or another literary piece in Russian; Russian dictionary
Chinese: Bajin's The Trilogy of Turbulent Stream: Family, Spring, Autumn or another literary piece in Chinese; Chinese dictionary
Korean: Hwang Sun-won's Sonagi or another literary piece in Korean; a Korean dictionary


  1. Introduce the content
    After providing some background information about El Cid, explain that students are going to read excerpts from this literary work and summarize what theyve read in their own words. In groups of three or four, have learners brainstorm everything they know about El Cid (or your target language literary text).
  2. Introduce and model the learning strategy
    Take a passage from El Cid and model the learning strategy monitor by reading aloud and then briefly summarizing or rephrasing what you have just read and asking yourself if it makes sense. Describe how important it is for language learners to monitor their progress. For example, when they are reading, they should stop occasionally to check to see if they understand what they are reading.
  3. Practice
    Have students read excerpts from the literary work and stop occasionally to ask themselves if they understand what they are reading. Have them check their comprehension with a partner.


  1. In pairs, have learners retell the passage in their own words. Listen carefully to make sure they have understood the gist.
  2. Review the learning strategy when reading excerpts from other texts.
  3. As a class, brainstorm ways that learners can use the strategy monitor to help them complete other learning activities (both language and other content areas). For example, how would the strategy apply to listening in the target language?

Teacher Resources (to help teacher enhance activity):
Relevant information about the literary work in the target language can probably be found on the Web. This material will be suitable for the teacher and perhaps for the students as well. The teacher can summarize the material or make it available directly to the students.

Adapted from an activity submitted by Sabrina Keenan, Montgomery County Public Schools.